UK Best Book of the Year Richard Mason’s WHO KILLED PIET BAROL? coming to the US


Richard Mason’s magnificent new novel WHO KILLED PIET BAROL? will be published by Knopf here on January 26, but it’s already out in the UK where it’s received rave reviews and been named a Best Book of the Year by the Guardian, the Observer and The Times of London, which describes it perfectly:

“In 1914 Cape Town, Piet Barol and his wife Stacey, are outrageous fraudsters cutting a dash through colonial society. In an attempt to make money, Barol sets off for an adventure in the forest, accompanied by two skeptical Xhosa companions, Luvo and Ntsina. The likable Barol’s ignorance and greed will trigger a catastrophe for Ntsina’s home village. The story is told from various viewpoints, with a manic charm. This is a highly original book. Part magic realism, part fable, part history and wholly engrossing.

The US prepubs are just coming in – with Publishers Weekly saying Richard writes “with the élan of a seasoned raconteur” comparing this novel to Paul Theroux‘s Mosquito Coast (publicist says “Hello! Thx PW!”). Kirkus says, “Mason continues to earn his reputation with exquisitely crafted sentences and a dizzying knack for storytelling.” And in their starred review, Library Journal says, “In elegant, sensuous prose … Mason imbues the forest with life, taking readers inside the psyche of each tree, animal, or insect… Mason’s previous novels have been long-listed for the IMPAC, Sunday Times Literary, and Lambda Literary awards. This profoundly tragic tale, in which colonialism battles tribal customs, and divisions of race and class sow distrust, should put him over the top.

Take three minutes to watch Richard’s video on the creation of this novel – It is completely compelling … and not only because of Richard’s perfect pronunciation of “Xhosa” with a glottal ‘X.’

Book critics, as always, please let me know if you’re interested in an advance copy for review. 

WHO KILLED PIET BAROL? is available now for pre-order at your local independent booksellers, Amazon, iTunes,, and everywhere books are sold.